After filing an initial draft corrective action plan in response to orders from USDE's Office of Special Education Programs to address various special education problems in Texas public schools, TEA sent school districts a reminder of their specific responsibilities for identifying, evaluating, and serving special education students.  

Of particular interest to teachers are TEA’s statements about the improper use of Response to Intervention to delay/deny students special education services. (Teachers are routinely charged with using Response to Intervention with struggling students, and some teachers have been instructed that a student must either participate in RTI before being referred for special education evaluation, or must complete all three tiers of RTI prior to referral). TEA emphasized that “it would be inconsistent with IDEA’s evaluation requirements for an LEA (school district) to reject a referral and delay provision of an initial evaluation on the basis that a child has not participated in a Response to Intervention framework.”

TEA further provided that “As stated in the Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process, a child does not need to advance through each tier of an RTI system before a referral for special education is made. Furthermore, OSEP has advised that it would be inconsistent with the evaluation provisions of IDEA for an LEA to reject a referral and delay an initial evaluation on the basis that a student has not participated in an RTI framework. Once it is apparent that general education interventions are not sufficient to address a student’s difficulty in the general classroom, LEA personnel must initiate a referral.”

TEA also announced the next steps it would take in carrying out OSEP’s instructions regarding the Corrective Action Plan, noting that:

  • Stakeholders have the opportunity to provide ongoing feedback through the official email address:
  • On or about March 5, 2018, TEA will release its proposed corrective action plan as part of the SPED Strategic Plan.
  • Stakeholders may provide feedback on the proposed plan during an additional comments period, which will run through March 31, 2018. Feedback during this period should be submitted to TEA in writing using the email address noted above.
  • In April, TEA will submit its final corrective action plan to OSEP and will also publish a Special Education Strategic Plan.

TCTA will continue to provide input as opportunities arise as well as monitor and report on developments as they occur.